Picture the scene: a boardroom full of executive-types at Isuzu headquarters in Tokyo. They are discussing the branding on their new SUV — what should they call it? What name would sum up its entirely sensible combination of midrange features? In a flash of inspiration, someone cries out: “What about… the Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard?” A shout of assent goes around the room, and history is made.
Yes, there really was an Isuzu Mysterious Utility Wizard. We wrote about it way back in 2017, when we collected together the eight silliest names for car models. Now we’re back with more, equally daft and lost-in-translation car names.
1. Daewoo Honker
What would you call a formidable light truck, used for ferrying around the Polish army and miners? Maybe something to do with gods, heroes or weapons? Chances are you wouldn’t have plumped, like Daewoo did, for ‘honker.’ It’s a word which conjures up various things — a large nose, a small clown’s car, a goose, and some ruder ideas which we’ll let you google for yourself — but certainly not this rugged beast, also known as the Tarpan Honker.
2. Sbarro Assystem
Sounding exactly like the slurred speech of a comical drunk, this concept car was actually named after its Italian creator, Franco Sbarro. And coincidentally, the car also looks like it was designed by someone who’d just downed six pints.
3. Mitsubishi Mini Active Urban Sandal
Why choose one name when you can have four? You can see the logic here. Sandal implies a fun, casual, summertime vibe. Urban, because when you’re not at the beach, it’s a city car. Active, because you’re an up-and-about sort of driver. And Mini, because it’s small. Brilliant!
It was also called the MAUS for short, which sounds a bit German and foreboding.
4. Honda Vamos Hobio (Travel Dog Package)
“Of course, a lot of our customers are going for the Vamos Hobio Travel Dog Package — it’s perfect for anyone who wants to buy a vehicle centering on the needs of their dog. All the seats are liquid-repellant and odour-resistant, and it comes fully loaded with pet mats.”
The Travel Dog package was available from 2003 to 2008.
5. Autozam Scrum Stand-Off
We love Autozam: it sounds like a rubbish car detailing kit you regret buying from Halfords. Whereas actually, it was a longstanding brand for Mazda. However, Scrum Stand off — now there’s a manly name for a minivan. The team at Daiwoo (see number one) could learn a thing or two.
True story: in the course of researching this, we saw an Autozam Scrum Stand-Off for sale. It was severely tempting to put an offer in, just to say we had one.
6. Mitsubishi Minica Toppo Guppy, Toppo Town Bee, and Toppo BJ Wide
Those boys at Mitsubishi, eh, what are they like? Not just one absolute corker, but three. What is a ‘Toppo Guppy’, exactly? Is the Town Bee an undiscovered species?
As for a Toppo BJ Wide*, we’re not even going there.
*Big Joy, apparently.
7. Mitsubishi MUM 500 Shall We Join Us?
We so want this to be a real name that actually appeared on a car boot.
There was certainly a Mum 500, but it’s hard to find independent verification on the second part. But looking at the manufacturer’s track record, it’s certainly possible. Like many of Mitsubishi’s previous offerings, it presents us with a brain-teasing puzzle: what does ‘Shall We Join Us?’ even mean?
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